Roger, Rachel and Rezillo all have one thing in common when when it comes to their business plan: they hate it.
Or more accurately, they hate the act of writing it. They’ve joined forces in Aberdeen in an attempt to break into the Scottish patisserie market and although they can’t stop arguing about the merits of choux over flaky pastry and squirm when it comes to having to talk to each other about the best conditions for making Creme Anglaise, the one thing that does bind them is their mutual loathing of All Things Business Plan.
This is hardly surprising because at school, they, like so many talented entrepreneurs were completely useless when it came to dealing with the rigours of the national curriculum and the challenging stretch targets in literacy they were set when they were 7 years old. Our 3 ‘R’s of patisserie completely bottled it when it came to the 3 ‘R’s of reading, riting and rithmetic. The fact that those 3 ‘R’s are meaningless and should be the ‘RWA’s is irrelevant and we’ll let that pass for the moment.
The result of the 3 ‘R’s literacy failure at an early age has meant that now it comes to the need to write some substantial business plan for future investors, they are at a complete loss. They stare at blank sheets of paper, they download templates galore from the internet, try writing them out in their best handwriting but all to no avail: the damn plan won’t get written.
So, the intrepid entrepreneur who is passionate about their business but filled with dread when it comes to writing about it has to go back to basics when it comes to getting that plan together and rediscover earlier moments in their lives when writing was still a pleasure and not the grind it became at school.
Here are some tips that helped them in that process.
1. Write absolute rubbish. Enjoy writing rubbish. Don’t worry about the order of that rubbish or whether it’s spelt correctly or any other grammatical niceties. Just churn out as much garbage as you can with the thought of your business foremost in your mind. You can edit it afterwards. The most important thing at the beginning is to generate. Anything.
2. Write anywhere. If you prefer to write standing up, laying down, on the floor or on the walls, go ahead. Some of the best business plans started off as graffiti.
3. Use any implement on any medium you like. Sticks in mud, felt tip pens on flip chart, blood in the sand. Don’t obsess about sitting at your laptop and laboriously typing it out word by painful word. Someone else can always do that conventional job for you later.
4. Write it backwards. Too many business plan models insist you gaze into the future and predict all kinds of imponderables. Another way is to imagine you’ve just finished your first two years and you’re looking back at what you achieved. Just describe in the past tense rather than fretting about what might or might not happen in an impossible future tense. The fact that you can place yourself up a mountain of hindsight and convey all that you’ve created means the plan is a record of achievement, not a hyperbolic statement of intent.
The 3 ‘R’s of Scottish patisserie took to this approach with gusto and soon ended up with content which was rapidly converted into the tastiest business flan they’d ever concocted. Any more tips for discovering the joy in writing business plans are very welcome!